WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2015 – With the recent apparent terrorist massacre by Syed Rizwan Farook, a U.S.-born citizen of Pakistani descent and his wife Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino, California, millions of parents across the nation have to be wondering, “Can home-grown terrorism occur here?” The stark reality is yes.
The harsh reality of waking up one morning in a previously safe neighborhood under attack is a reality. As GOP presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stressed, “Every place in America is a terrorist target” and World War III has arrived.
What do you do to protect your children and calm their fear of harm, destruction of their way of life and even death when they have heard or seen recent terrorist attacks in Paris and now in San Bernardino?
According to Haaretz News, Israeli parents have to agonize over these real-life parental choices on a daily basis. In Israel, there are 13-year-olds stabbed on their bikes and random attacks occurring on buses and sidewalks. These parents understand it is important to keep their precious children safe without scaring them to death in the process. They admit the truth that terrorism does exist, and their children text when they have arrived at school and when they are leaving school.
The first step for parents is to understand that the threat of terrorism on your block, in your neighborhood and possibly at your school is very real. ISIS has supported going after “soft” targets, meaning civilian locations, and supporters appear to be taking that to heart. Secondly, as Haaretz News indicated “political correctness went out the window” when it came to demanding that any and all measures be considered in keeping their children safe, including profiling Arab gardeners and cleaners working in schools.
Families can take active steps to prepare themselves for possible terrorist attacks in their neighborhood by using several of the follow tips recommended by the Safe Sound Family security website by planning now:
- Create your own family disaster and terrorist attack plan and review it regularly
- Know your child’s school, your work and community disaster plan and contact your local first responder agency, police or local fire department for information now
- Identify an alternative hospital in case of terrorist attack because your closest may be the busiest
- If your neighborhood is attacked, do not return home to retrieve personal possessions in case there is a follow-up attack
- Move at least 200 yards away from damaged homes or buildings and do not stand in front of glass doors or windows
- Avoid crowds because crowds may be the target of a second attack
- Avoid cars and trucks left unattended because they may contain explosives
- Call 911 once you are in a safe place
- Most important, if you see suspicious behavior occurring on your block, in your neighborhood or even at your child’s school, report it immediately to the police
The tragic terrorist attack in San Bernardino exposed the reality that there are terrorists living in and amongst Americans and even next door. You and your neighbors are the best counter-terrorism measure that can protect each other by seeing something and saying something.
While these tips are not exhaustive, they will help you and your family to be better prepared if and when a terrorist attack occurs in your neighborhood.